Friday, August 19, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Jade Bennington

For your weekend writing pleasure, I'm happy to announce our guest prompter, Jade Bennington.  She gives us some ideas about how to work through our dreams in journals and how to use them to inspire creative writing.   I hope you enjoy these prompts by Jade.


Dream Journal Writing Prompt by Jade Bennington

There are times when dreams come at night, so vivid and puzzling, that I awake feeling heavy with the desire to create something with them, to write them down and enjoy them, to make sense of them.  I've found that writing down my dreams in a journal provides me with a great source of inspiration for future poems and projects.

It's been helpful for me to mark my dream pages to easily find them.  Others might like to make a separate dream journal.

Poetry Prompt:  Browse through past dream journal entries.  Read an entry and consider what emotion is most obvious in the dream, whether it is a feeling of anxiety, contentment, anger, or joy. 
Write out the dream in the present tense.  Then, write a poem in which the most compelling dream image or emotion is described in concrete detail.
It can be interesting to weave together images from different dreams that are grouped together by a common thread or emotion.

Fiction Prompt:  Write a story in which a fictional character comes face to face with a dream conflict, object, or person. 

Here's an example of the dream writing process:

First, the journal entry.

I dream that my house is on fire.   After the fire is gone, I discover that some of my journals which I no longer own are piled up behind the family room couch.  I flip one open and find that a friend had gone through them, and with a red felt pen, had written notes in the margins. 

To work with this entry and better understand it, I circled the main words, which were: fire, house, journals, friend, and red felt pen.
And then I wrote a line for each main word, if it could speak.  For example, for fire, I wrote: "I show you your clinging."  And for the red felt pen I wrote, "At my best, I correct, and at my worst, I hinder with censorship."

From here, I could write a poem which includes the journals stacked behind the family room couch. 
I could write a story which begins with the main character discovering someone else's journals, or a story that begins with a fire.

There are many ways to approach dream writing.  Sometimes the dreams won't fit into a poem or story, and that is okay.  Writing out dreams can be an art in themselves and teach us something about our minds.  This knowledge can better equip us for creative writing.  So, let's see what we can create.

Jade Bennington is a published poet and fiction writer from Brooklyn, NY.  When she isn't writing, she enjoys parks and gardens, classical and singer-songwriter music, loose leaf tea, and visual art.  She is the author of the short story collection, On a Wobbly Beach Chair beside the Ocean and can be found blogging about creative writing at Blush of DawnShe currently lives in southern Massachusetts.

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